As a 13-year pro and six-year veteran of the PGA Tour, Kevin Streelman isn’t exactly a household name. That could all change before long, as the journeyman put up the single greatest performance of the year at the Travelers Championship, breaking a nearly 60-year-old record in the process.
Streelman was actually three shots behind 54-hole leader Ryan Moore to start Sunday’s final round. Having missed four straight cuts and coming off of a remarkable six-under round of 64 on Saturday, anything in the top ten likely would have been a solid accomplishment, but that wasn’t enough.
After giving back two strokes in seven holes, Streelman absolutely went off on the back nine, closing his round with seven straight birdies. His second straight round of 64 brought him to -15 for the championship, and when neither Sergio Garcia or K.J. Choi could find a birdie on the 18th, the storybook ending was complete.
The otherworldly birdie streak is the longest since Mark Souchak put six in a row at the 1956 St. Paul Open. Think about that for a second. In 58 years, nobody has made that kind of clutch run for a win, from Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer to Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. The greatest players in the world dream of a run like this, and Streelman earned every bit of it.
Just how good was he? Streelman made 15 birdies this weekend to just three bogeys, and he needed just 24 putts to get around on Sunday. We’ve seen some great golf this season, but there hasn’t been one single performance better than this all year.
One of the greatest things in golf is to see a player who just will not be denied, who reaches out and claims victory. That’s precisely what Streelman did on Sunday, and we’re not likely to see a run of perfection like that anytime soon.